Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

TRS-80 Model I

TRS-80 Model I

Speed1.77 MHz
Memory4 KB

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Tandy/Radio Shack

TRS-80

Release Date: 8/1/1977
Manufacturer: Tandy/Radio Shack
 
Donated By: Jim Thomson
 
This was Radio Shack's first personal computer, designed in the late 1970s when not much else was available in 'assembled' form. It shipped with either 4 KB or 16 KB of RAM and the Level 1 BASIC was very limited, allowing only 26 number variables, 2 string variables and one array variable. The monitor that came with it was actually an RCA Black and White television with the TV guts removed. You could expand the RAM on the unit and interface cassette drives, disk drives and a serial port. The flaky connections on the expansion boards and serial ports however, led to the eventual nickname "Trash 80".

User Comments
Tony Lelieveld VE3DWI on Thursday, January 30, 2014
I remember the "Trash-80" very well. It was my very first computer which I purchased in 1978 (I think). I bought the Model-II with expansion interface but without the monitor as I had a small Black and White TV which I modified the same way Radio-Shack did theirs by separating the TV and Video circuits. I soon got tired of using the cassette tapes for loading and saving programs. I purchased a "Dual-Head-Floppy Drive", bought good quality discs which could be used on both sides, and was loading and saving programs and data in seconds. Since the drive was connected to the "Parrallel printer port" it was very fast compaired to the "Commodore" computer drive as it used the "serial port" which slowed data transfer considerably. I used to write programs in "Basic" with "Peek / Poke" machine language modules imbedded for our kids to help them in math, spelling and other learning skils. If they did better than 70% they could choose to have Choo-Choo trains, or other fun stuff, ride across the screen with basic block graphics. This was a lot of fun for them and they surely improved those skill. There was a TRS-80 computer club held at the Elmira High School started by a teacher who's name I can only remember as "Richie". We learned from each others experiences and mistakes and we always looked forward to these evenings. One High School kid wrote, in Machine Language, his own game where you had to shoot Aliens and as you became better at it the Aliens appeared faster and more numerous. My kids fought over computer time to play this game. When I ended up in Wawa working for CBC as a Remote Area Transmitter Tech, we called ourself RATT's, I wrote an inventory program, with embedded machine language sorting modules, to make keeping inventory a lot easier. As I think of what I paid for that equipment then, with that money I would be able to buy a multi-core super fast machine now. But the fun and learning experience we had made it all worth while. Aaaah the good old days.
Mel Bailey on Wednesday, August 28, 2013
By buying the very first personal computer, a TRS80 Model 1 from Radio Shack in 1975, I became Canada's first personal computer pioneer by starting my own business (Central Consulting in Surrey B.C.) where I wrote TRSDOS-Basic computer programs for government and small local businesses. In 1990 I was invited to work for IBM is the USA and went on to work for all of the computer companies except Microsoft. I retired in Miami Florida in 2010. See more history at melfbailey.com/resumes.html
Panzer -Volnteer- on Monday, May 24, 2010
It was my grandfather's first computer, my dad's first computer, I don't remember my first computer, but I wouldn't be surprised of ot was this!!
Manny on Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Remember,,,this was my first computer, I quickly learned how to use an RS232 interface with an acoustic modem. For those of you that have no clue what that is you placed the handset into two rubber cups and your computer actually talked to the modem on the other end. Slow but loyal I was able to term into the FIU mainframe with this thing for over two years. Mine ended up in a model airplane kit factory in Miami.
Bob Bauer on Saturday, February 20, 2010
I owned one of these. It was unbelievably slow. Even the very small Basic programs took forever to load from the cassette tape drive. Overlays were possible but they had to be sequential. The built-in programming language was limited but at least it was always available.
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